are in reverse chronological order--You should go through all announcements since your last visit, as simple common sense would suggest! NOTE: excuses such as "I did not know this was available via the class homepage," or "I did not have time to go to the class home page," and so on, will not be tolerated. In this class, intellectual laziness has its price: a poor grade.
[[]] Materials for Homework Assignments Depository
[[]] Syllabus
[[]] Learning Outcomes (see syllabus)
[[]] Test/Quiz Preparation--and Instructions.
[[]] Examples of TYPES of test/quiz questions
[[]] Class Films List
[[]] Test Scores/Bonus Points
[[]] Homework/Tests Schedule
[[]] Term Paper Topic and Instructions
[[]] Problem Accessing a Video File 
[[]] Creating Your Own Close Captioning
[[]] Problem Accessing Reading(s)
[[]] Academic Honesty--School Policy
[[]] Educational Success Packet 
[[]] Proper greetings format for e-mails
[[]] Your Morals
[[]] Time Budgeting Template  
[[]] Grades Do Matter
[[]] World Life Expectancy
[[]] Handbook of All Occupations in the U.S. 
[[]] Wolfram Alpha Knowledge Engine
[[]] U.B. Student Calendar
[[]] U.B. Undergraduate Catalog  

SCROLL DOWN THE PAGE TO THE END to see all the announcements you have missed.
Man, do I really have to tell you this?

  Posted 12/1/2022
Dear All:
Test 5 retake, Extra-credit test, the final exam, etc.
Please note:

(1) The end of semester schedule is now available via the link below. Please go through it right away because, among other things, it covers these critically important dates:
(a) Monday, December 5, at 6:00 pm (not 1:00 pm).
(b) Friday, December 9, at 6:00 pm (not 1:00 pm).
(c) Wednesday, December 14, at 1:00 pm,
(d) Friday, December 16, at 6: 00 pm (not 1:00 pm).
(2) To those of you who sent me emails recently about a query, excuse, request, clarification, etc., your concerns have been addressed in the schedule. Therefore, I will not be responding individually (in fact, some of you would not have received a response anyway because you did not follow the email format specified in the syllabus).

(3) Link to the end of semester schedule is here.

PS> Always follow the email format specified in the syllabus when you write me. Otherwise you may not get a response.

  Posted 11/22/2022
Dear All:
About the Topic for your Term Paper, PLUS Instructions.
Please note:

1) If you wish to do the term paper then the topic, due date, PLUS other important instructions for the paper are now available via one of the links above. (The same document is also available via the relevant announcement on UBLearns.) The document has 15 sections, and you must go through all of them super carefully, starting with the first one that explains conditions under which you will earn an automatic F for the paper.

2) Reminders:
(a) Yes, as per previous announcements, the term paper itself is now optional (you do not have to do it).
(b) For those who still wish to do the term paper, then note that it constitutes 50% of the term paper project (the other 50% is the term paper-related test that you took last week), and the project itself is worth 20% of the final grade. Here is a small brain teaser: so, how much is the paper worth?

PS> Thursday is Thanksgiving Day; however, some African Americans, Native Americans, and Latina/Latino Americans refuse to celebrate it because they consider it a day of mourning. Why?

  Posted 11/9/2022
Dear All:
Mandatory Test next week related to the Term Paper Project
Please note:
1) As per e-mail I sent you about two weeks ago (see Announcement 10 below), we will have a mandatory test related to the term paper project, on Monday next week, November 14, at 1:00 pm.

2) Everyone is required to do this test.

3) This test will also be available on Wednesday, November 16 at 1:00 pm, as a retake, but not all questions will be the same. You can choose to do the test on both days (yes, we will keep the highest score), or you can choose to do it on only one or the other day.

4) The test will cover the following homework (which has already been assigned to you before): Item Nos. R and S of Readings—Packet 10, from PART A of the Materials for Homework Assignments Depository. (Link is above)

5) As indicated in a previous announcement (see Announcement 10, below) and email, the term paper is now optional. This is a huge break. Anyhow, if you choose to do the term paper, then the test is worth half of the term paper project (the other half will be the term paper itself).

6) Instructions for the optional term paper will be available shortly, via one of the links above.

PS> Yesterday was election day. If you were eligible to vote and you voted, I want to thank you for doing your part in helping to make democracy work. When democracy does not work there is chaos. Ask all the refugees who come to this country; they should be able to tell you.

  Posted 11/3/2022
Dear All:
Upcoming Test 4 Reminder
Please note:
1) This is a reminder that Test 4 is coming up in a few days. Please see your Homework/Test Schedule. There will be no retake for this test; so, please be well prepared for it.

Other reminders:
(a) As always, more questions will come from that part of the homework that many of you did not do.
(b) You are expected to do your homework as per homework schedule, which means every week. The fact that some of you are not doing so is the reason why you need test reminders (like this one). Yes?

PS> Those of you who did the homework for the last test, and you pay attention to the news on a regular basis (as educated people do), will know that New York State recently announced that they will pay millions of dollars as compensation to those who were wrongly convicted for the murder of Malcolm-X. Although in my opinion no amount of money can compensate for 50 years of wrongful imprisonment! Of course, this issue also brings up the matter of capital punishment. Supposing they had been given the death penalty? (This would have definitely happened, going by the bias in the justice system that continues to this day, if they had been accused of murdering a white person.)

  Posted 10/20/2022
Dear All:
Term Paper Project, Upcoming Test, etc.
Please note:
1) A reminder that the next test is coming up in a few days. Please see the Homework/Test Schedule for details. As always, more questions will come from that part of the homework that many of you may ignore. Why? Because ALL assigned homework must be done; you are not allowed to pick and choose. There is a reason why the different parts of a homework are assigned together for a particular week. Question: do you know why "Something the Lord Made" was assigned with the other homework materials for the Midterm? Here is another question: Do you know why the documentary video on hair and beauty has been assigned together with the other homework, for the upcoming test? NOTE: There will be NO opportunity to retake the upcoming test. <--Read this sentence again.

(2) About the term paper project. If you look at the syllabus you will notice that the term paper project is made up of two parts. Part one will be a test, and part two will be the term paper itself. The test part is mandatory for everyone; however, I have decided to make the term paper itself optional (meaning you dont have to do it). I will be posting additional info soon on what the test part will cover, and for those who choose to do the term paper, its due date, length, and what the topic of the paper will be, etc. Yes, I will be assigning you the topic, and all references will have to come from material I will assign.

(3) I noticed a big improvement in the Midterm exam scores among some of you who retook it. Why this improvement? Because you decided to do the homework, after  all. Yes? As I have mentioned before, this is one of the easiest classes you will ever take in this school--all you have to do is do the homework (which compared to biochem or organic chemistry is a piece of cake).

(4) Reminder: If you claim that you have experienced a technical problem while taking a test/exam in this course (that has prevented you from completing it) you MUST take a picture of the ENTIRE screen edge to edge, documenting the problem.

PS> Those of you who follow the news are probably aware that the Supreme Conservative Court may decide to hear a case soon on how one should define who a black person is, here in the U.S. This news is relevant to one of the assignments for the upcoming test. The obsession with race never ceases. By the way, how many of you know that the horrors that are going on in Ukraine are also about "race" (in this case it is what we call ethnocentrism).

  Posted 10/14/2022
Dear All:
About Grades (Midterm)
Please note:
1) Today, is the deadline for instructors to hand in mid-term grades, which I have done. You can access your mid-term grades only via the HUB portal (and not UBL and not this site).
2) Here is the explanation for your grades: MS = Midterm Satisfactory; MU =Midterm Unsatisfactory; F3 = Fail.
3) Regardless of whether you got an "Unsatisfactory" or a "Fail," it is not too late to turn things around, PROVIDED you do three things: (a) Go back and go through the homework/test schedule and the syllabus to see if you have the time to put in the effort to turn things around. (b) Get in touch with me to figure out how you can complete the missed work. (c) Make a commitment that you will do all the necessary work for the rest of the semester.
4) If you received a "Satisfactory" it means either you are doing well or it means there is still room for improvement.
5) Reminder: When you send me e-mails make sure it is in the format specified in the syllabus (otherwise, you may not get a response).

PS> As I have already stated: In this online course there are no text books, you don't have to come to class and worry about course participation, tests/exams are open book, and when you do them you get bonus points. Plus, sometimes you are allowed to redo the tests/exam. Moreover, as those of you who have been doing the homework diligently know, the homework is interesting (compared to homework in some of your other classes). In other words, this is the easiest class you will ever take in this school. So, there is no reason why you should not get an A in this course, unless you have a lot on your plate and/or you are lazy--in both cases I have no control over that.

  Posted 10/10/2022
Dear All:
About Retaking/Making up the Mid-Term Exam
Because the mid-term exam is super important, if you want to, you can re-take it (or make-it up if you missed it today) for ANY reason, technical or otherwise--repeat, for ANY reason. Now, please note carefully:
1. Study the homework assignments again diligently because the content of the questions will not necessarily be the same (however, the number of questions will be the same and you will get the same amount of time).
2. As always, the retake/makeup exam will be available via UBLearns.
3. To make things even more convenient for you, the exam will be available on two days and you should choose ONE of these days that works for you: Friday, October 14 at 1:00 pm, and Saturday, October 15 at 1: 00 pm. (Do not send me an e-mail about your choice.)
4. One more break: For this occasion, we will keep the highest score.
5. Another break: Yes, once again, there will be bonus points that I will add later (when I post your updated scores on the Class Home Page at elegantbrain.com) as a break for you, and as an insurance against one or two questions you may find problematic in some way. (By the way, some of you have not accessed the updated scores for your previous tests. Why?) Question for ya? How many of your other teachers would be willing to give you the kinds of breaks you are getting in this course? So, why the lack of appreciation. How do you show appreciation? By doing well in the course.

6. Reminders
(a): Your chances of getting responses sooner to e-mails you send me are much higher if you follow the format/instructions specified in the syllabus. (In fact, you may not even get a response if you do not follow the format.)
(b) Whenever you send me a screenshot of some computer issue, the screenshot must be of the ENTIRE screen from edge to edge. AND it should not be taken at an angle. (Repeat: Do NOT send me a screenshot of just part of the screen that shows whatever the issue is.)
(c) Yes, I am able to see on what day and at what time you access homework assignments in this course (if at all), on an individual student basis. Many of you try to do two week's worth of homework assignments at the very last minute, and of course you fail to complete it satisfactorily--if at all. Just because in this course there is no class attendance and there is no class participation, does not mean you are entitled to let your homework pile up. Compared to your other classes, the amount of homework you are getting per week in this course is not that much. But when you let it pile up it will appear to be a lot.
(d) Accessing the homework early allows you to figure out how much time you will need to budget for the homework. Yes?
(e) Suggestions for how to study for tests/exams in this course are indicated in the Test Preparation/Instructions document (available via one of the announcements on UBLearns, as well as via the link toward the top of this page).

7. Please always read e-mails and announcements super carefully, word by word (especially because this is an online course). Go over  it twice, after a few minutes break in between. Some of you keep spamming me because you do not read announcements on UBlearns and/or e-mails I send you carefully. (This is a waste of YOUR time, and even though I do not know you I am 100% sure that you have a lot of important things to do than to spam me. Yes?)


Posted 10/5/2022
Dear All:
Date and Time for the Mid-Term Exam
To determine where and when any test/exam in this course will take place and what it will cover--for the entire semester--please make sure that you look at the updated "Homework and Test Schedule" that was posted via the announcement on UBLearns on September 22. (That schedule is also available now via the link toward the top).  Scroll the entire document to see everything--yes, I know you always do that, but the same is not true for everyone else. Yes?
Four important reminders: 
(a) As per latest announcement, the upcoming Mid-Term exam (see the test schedule) is super important;
(b) your updated test scores with bonus points have been posted (you can access them via the link toward the top). Check them to make sure there are no errors.
(c) this course is structured around three key documents (which you can access via the relevant announcements on UBLearns OR via the link toward the top). These documents are: The Syllabus; the Homework and Test Schedule; and the Test Instructions.
(d) When you send me e-mails they must be in the format specified in the syllabus.


Posted 10/3/2022
Dear All:
Concerning the Mid-Term Exam, and Your Updated Test Scores
(a) The mid-term exam is coming up in a few days. Please look at the Homework/Test Schedule right away for the date/time and what it will cover. The mid-term exam is really important for two reasons: it covers 20% of your final grade and it is associated with a huge break regarding the term paper (more about that later).

(b) Your updated test scores are now available via the link toward the top of this page. Please go through your scores right away to make sure there are no errors.


  Posted 9/22/2022
Dear All: 
Updated Homework/Test Schedule; Bonus Points; etc.
 Please note carefully:
    1) The Homework Assignments and Tests/Exams schedules have been updated. See link below.

    2) You were allowed to repeat or make up Test 1 for any reason provided you did the Syllabus Disclaimer Assignment, because it was a big break (that is, it was a favor). Your score will be discarded if you do not do that assignment. The deadline for doing the assignment (which is worth 10 points to be added to your score for Test 1) is midnight on the day of the second test. Do you know when the second test is?

    3) About the Bonus points: Usually but not necessarily always, there will bonus points attached to each test or exam--including the mid-term and the final. Bonus points are aimed at helping those of you who are trying to get at least a B+ or an A in this class (and to take care of any questions that you may have found confusing on the assumption of course that you did do the homework on time and diligently). However, bonus points will not be available to those who have not done the MANDATORY Syllabus Disclaimer Assignment. The deadline for doing that assignment is midnight on the day of the second test. Do you know when the second test is?

    4) Your updated scores (with bonus points) will be posted separately after the class has taken the second test. Scores for Test 1 and Test 2 will give us a good idea if you are taking this course seriously. Yes?

    Updated Schedules are available here.

    PS> When you send me e-mails make sure they are in the format specified in the syllabus; otherwise you may not get a response.

  Posted 9/13/2022
Dear All: 
About Retaking or Making Up Test No. 1
As per earlier announcement, I had indicated that you can redo Test 1 (because it is the first test) if you meet a certain threshold. I have decided to remove that threshold by allowing anyone who wishes to do so to re-take Test 1, for any reason, this Friday at 1: 00 pm, here on UBLearns, provided you have done the Syllabus Disclaimer Assignment. <--Read this sentence again.

    A few other points:

    ---For the umpteenth time: please do NOT send me e-mails that are not in the format indicated in the syllabus. You may not get a response.

    ---Some of you never bothered to look at the Sample questions (link to it is in the earlier announcement).

    ---The questions on the Test 1 retake on Friday will not necesarily be the same. Therefore, you must do the homework with diligence before you decide to sit for it. NOTE: only the score for the retake will be kept (even if its lower).

    ---I began teaching this course long before you were born--let that sink in for a second--and I have seen more or less everything. Therefore, I am always suspicious when people come up with excuses that are not documented beyond a reasonable doubt. Special note: about claims of computer/internet failure a screenshot is not enough. Why? See the Test Instructions document (link is in the earlier announcement below).

    Test make-ups are time-consuming and interfere with my other important school-related commitments. So, please show your appreciation when I allow you to do a retake/make-up. How? By studying well and doing well on the test.


  Posted 9/9/2022
Dear All:
Concerning Our First Test, E-mails, etc.

    Guys, today is Friday, and I am thinking of you. 😃 So, please go through the following items carefully:

    (a) Reminder: When you send me e-mails they must be in the format specified in the syllabus. Otherwise, you may not get a response. Reminder: the syllabus is available via one of the announcements below.

    (b) I am teaching close to a hundred of you across my classes. So, reminder: Before you send me a query make sure that it is not about something I have already covered in the syllabus, announcements, etc.

    (c) Reminder: this is an ONLINE course, and as some of you have discovered, compared to an in-class course, the teacher has to put everything online, including instructions for the simplest things,  which makes the course really demanding to teach. (Those of you who have done the homework will know what this really means.) No, I am not complaining. However, it also implies that as a student you must develop the discipline to go through everything that is made available to you with a fine toothcomb. <--- What does this expression mean?

    (d) Reminder: If your query is about something I have already covered, but you feel you still need further clarification, make sure that you include in your e-mail the exact wording, sentence, paragraph etc. that the query is about, by copying it word for word. (Do NOT send me a picture of it.)

    (e) Our first test is coming up very shortly. Reminder: Look at the Homework/Test Schedule for the exact time and day. The schedule has been available to you via one of the announcements below.

    (f) Some of you have still not done the homework! This is no good. How do I know this? Because I can look at the list of people who have accessed the homework. Reminder: Homework is available via a link on the Homework/Test Schedule.

    (g) Reminder: more questions may come from homework that the majority of the class did NOT do (usually because they waited until the last minute to do the homework and they ran out of time).

    (h) For instructions AND format of the test, please go through the two documents indicated below.

    (i) Reminder: you are supposed to download all the homework for a given week because you may not be able to access it online when you want to. Why? Because your internet may be down, or because too many people are trying to access the homework at the same time, etc.

    (j) Bonus questions may also come from the syllabus.

    (k) Reminder: Please make sure that you do the Syllabus Disclaimer Assignment. Failure to do that assignment will mean no bonus points, breaks, etc. for the entire semester (this can also mean not being allowed to do a make-up that you may need to do for some reason).

    (l) On this first test, here is an important break: Provided you get a C minus and above, you will be allowed to repeat it on Friday of the same week at 1:00 pm. The questions will not necessarily be the same, so you must do the homework again. Only the score on the repeat test will be kept, so be careful. Why this break? So that you are not disadvantaged on the first test due to lack of familiarity with the format and types of questions.

    (m) Reminder: In this course all tests/quizzes/exams will be online via UBlearns.
    (n) Two Important documents you must access immediately and read and digest:
(1) Test Instructions
(2) Sample TYPES of Test Questions

    I wish you a very productive weekend.

  Posted 9/2/2022
Dear All: 
   Rest of the Syllabus is Now Available
Together with the basic course requirements that were posted via the announcement on August 28 (2022), the rest of the syllabus is now available by clicking on the link below.

Posted 8/28/2022

Dear All:
Syllabus and Homework/Test Schedules

Welcome, welcome to this Fall 2022 AAS 253 course. Please follow the two links below to access (a) the basic course requirements, and (b) the homework/test schedule.
    Here is a quick summary of the basic course requirements document:
    •    Online course, but no classes on Zoom.
    •    No required textbooks.
    •    Tests/quizzes will not be proctored.
    •    Tests/quizzes approximately every two weeks on Blackboard (UBLearns).
    •    Tests/quizzes will only take place per course schedule (that is, only on Mondays, between 12:30 to 3:10 pm).
    •    There will be a mid-term and a final exam (final exam will be during exam week).
    •    There will be a two-part term paper project. 
    •    All homework materials (films, documentaries, videos, readings, etc.) will be available online.
    •    Course designed for those taking no more than 15 credit hours total, and do not have a full-time job.
    •    Tests/quizzes will be very demanding if you don’t do your homework at all, or you don’t do it on on time, or if you do it SWD (studying while distracted).
    •    Must know how to navigate the internet, including accessing Blackboard.
    •    Must submit disclaimer that you read the syllabus diligently (after it is available in a few days).

    To foster professionalism, when you send me e-mails, they must be in a professional format; otherwise, you may not get a response. (E-mails must be sent only via UB mail and they will usually be read and answered on the days this course is scheduled.) Example of professional format: Begin with “Dear Instructor”;… and end with “Sincerely”, …. Plus, your name as it appears in school records. Again, all e-mails must be sent via regular UB e-mail (and not UBLearns).

    Homework/Test Schedule:
 Basic Course Requirements:


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Miscellaneous Info (may or may not be relevant)


Guys: If anybody knows the answer to the following question posed by the Dilbert Cartoonist, Scott Adams, let me know: "If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions?"